Author Topic: Learning music theory in English while being a non-native English speaker  (Read 2480 times)

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Offline WhiteCoatHermit

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Hey everyone!

I've been following Justin's Practical Music Theory for a few weeks now and I'm quite satisfied of the contents: I feel my knowledge of music is getting better every day (even if I'm still struggling to learn the major keys!).

However, there's something that has kept me puzzling during the whole course: I'm Italian and we name the notes "Do - Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Si", which essentially correspond to "C - D - E - F - G - A - B".
I personally think the English ones are more intuitive and easier to remember, but since I play with Italian people, it's more natural for me to go with the Italian notes and find common ground with the other band members.
Still, I'm learning music theory in English, and when I do the exercises I usually try to go with C D E and so on, then I write the Italian notes under the English ones, kinda of doing double work.

I wanted to ask (especially to other non-native English speakers who face the same learning difficulty) what do you think of my approach to music theory exercises. Am I doing wrong?

Cheers,
Danilo

Offline Majik

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Re: Learning music theory in English while being a non-native English speaker
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 05:35:54 pm »
Just a quick note. The "do - re - mi" approach is known as Solfège or Solfeggio (in Italian).

There are two types of Solfège:

Fixed-do , where the "do" is anchored to the note C so that, for instance, a scale of D would start end end on "re"

Moveable-do, where the do is used as a synonym for the first note of whatever scale you are working with, and the other notes names from there. So, with moveable-do, a D-scale (or any scale) would start from "do".

I'm guessing the OP is referring to using a fixed-do system in their native language.

I believe that is fairly uncommon, and is largely something that is encountered primarily in classical music circles, even in non-English speaking countries.

It may be more common also in Italy where it was invented.

Edit: I did some research and it does appear that fixed-do Solfeggio is in common use in Italy as well as some other countries, such as Spain, Latin America, and others.

However, many non-English speaking countries will use note letters.

Cheers,

Keith

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Offline Dr Winterbourne

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Re: Learning music theory in English while being a non-native English speaker
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2018, 12:50:20 pm »
I am Australian, but live in the Czech Republic. Here, they call Bb "B" and B "H". I normally let them use their system, but if, for example, I am explaining modes of something, I will use the much more logical English system.
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Offline Joerfe

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Re: Learning music theory in English while being a non-native English speaker
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 05:48:30 pm »
I’m Danish. Around here we usually do the same as mentioned for Hungary. Though we are quite a few that rather uses the English/American naming convention over the classical European.
Never used the Do-Re-Me etc. but H is still used by some and usually taught in music class. I think it holds no logic and stick to B.
/Jesper

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